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Hope for menopause treatment

Wednesday March 14th, 2018

Rapid results are being seen with a new medication to treat uncomfortable symptoms caused by the menopause.

The drug, called MLE4901, has been tested by a team led by Professor Waljit Dhillo at Imperial College London, UK.

They analysed the results of a clinical trial during which 37 menopausal participants took either 80mg of MLE4901 or placebo daily for four weeks, after which they swapped to the opposite tablets for the same time period.

Outcomes showed that MLE4901 significantly reduced the average total number and severity of hot flushes during treatment, compared with placebo. Details appear in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society today (14 March).

The drug appeared to reduce the frequency of hot flushes by almost three-quarters, and their severity by over a third, within three days. In addition, the women's sleep and concentration significantly improved.

Professor Dhillo said: "We already knew this compound could be a game-changer for menopausal women, and get rid of three-quarters of their hot flushes in four weeks. But this new analysis confirms the beneficial effect is obtained very quickly."

The drug is hepatotoxic, the researchers say, so two very similar drugs are currently being tested in larger patient trials. All three drugs act by blocking the neurotransmitter neurokinin B, increased levels of which are thought to trigger hot flushes via its effect on temperature control areas of the brain.

First author, Dr Julia Prague, said: "As neurokinin B has many targets of action within the brain the potential for this drug class to really improve many of the symptoms of the menopause is huge."

Prague, J. et al. Neurokinin 3 receptor antagonism rapidly improves vasomotor symptoms with sustained duration of action. Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society 14 March 2018

Tags: Pharmaceuticals | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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